I woke with my mind full of compassion for the mentally ill, and the families that love them. Another school shooting, another bout of global grief, another round of debate about gun violence and mental illness. How much will it take before we make material change to the way we diagnose and treat those suffering with the demons inside their own minds?
It’s a scary world we live in. As a mom, I pray every day for our kiddos as they go off to school and work. Even though my son is grown, I feel the worry of moms everywhere as we wonder at what point our children will ever be safe again.
I also pray for the parents who are raising children who are mentally ill. With no real and maintainable support from our medical systems, I can only imagine the daily struggles they face. Compounding their worries surely must be the censure they feel from those of us who have never experienced their pain, and thus provide very little patience and understanding.
In the face of ever-present danger of such violent and epic proportion, I fear our need for caution may override our courage to have compassion. It’s a conundrum to be sure. Our hyped up, sensationalized 24-hour media maelstrom constantly besieges us with messages that incite fear and unease. We feel the need to act, but sadly cannot determine what to do to make a difference. And so we hunker down, protect our babies as best we can, and start shying away from the “others” – you know, those who are ill and need our help the most.
I confess to not having an answer. In truth, like most of you I only have concerns. Today most especially for those who are suffering, struggling to get control of their thoughts, fighting for some semblance of peace in their minds.
We must remember that mental illness does not equal violence. Like many other conditions, it is not actually one illness but many with widely varying symptoms, treatments, and challenges. We have to be careful not to let snippets from TV be the whole of the story we accept.
Those suffering are people, just like you and I. Most have families that love them, parents that raised them the best they could, and dreams for their future that if they could only break free they could achieve. They need our help – to advocate for better care, to demand equal protection under the law, and to love and support them through the ongoing battle for control of their minds.
It will take courage to show compassion. It will take a faith beyond what the eye can see. It will take love, more than what we believe our hearts can bear. But I believe we can do it. For who among us is not struggling with something? Do we not all have something in our lives that is bigger than what we alone can control?
As we cradle our children in one arm, let us extend the other in comfort and compassion. We cannot allow violence and fear to close our hearts to human care and concern. Let love go beyond the circumstances, and connect us with those who need us most.
Loving on Me as I Love You. ❤
PS – For more information on mental illness support and how you can get involved please visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the Movement for Global Mental Health. Together, we can address the needs of our community.
PSS – Please leave us a comment if you know of other ways to get involved. Love and Blessings…